We booked out of the hostel early today to be nearly first in line at the Uffizi this morning. To make a reservation costs another 50% above the regular ticket price, so we took a chance and got there at 8:00. By 8:25 we were in the museum with hardly anyone else for the first 90 minutes. It is a luxury to be in a room of Botticelli with only a handful of your new friends.

Many hours later, we were back at the hostel. We gathered up the charcoal drawings made yesterday in the Campo of Siena. Each student identified a building on the campo to draw — we placed them in a circle on the floor of our studio and reproduced the 360-degree view that one would have if standing in the middle of the campo. The use of charcoal provided continuity between the different interpretations of the architecture and, although messy to use, everyone found the results to be satisfying.

Marzio and Caterina, both staff at our hostel, took us for a walk around our neighborhood, San Frediano. Marzio has lived here all of his life and is a walking history of the area. San Frediano is the locus for artisan workshops, some of which have been in continual use for generations if not centuries. We visited two: the furniture restorers (Fabio and Luca — third generations craftsmen) and the workshop of another restorer of wooden decorative objects.

We also learned that every stone that makes up the pavement of the streets and piazzas in Florence are numbered because they are of irregular pattern. When workmen come to take up the stones to dig under the streets, they can look underneath each of them to understand how to replace them correctly!

Back to the hostel for dinner. We ordered pizzas from our local rosticceria (pizza margarita, margarita with salsicce/sausage, and quattro stagione or “four seasons” with olives, mushrooms, ham and artichoke.) On our way back from picking them up, a few drops of rain fell, providing a slight sense of hope that the temperatures might drop a bit. The pizza was fantastic and a great ending to a busy day.

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